KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Michael Morse hit his eighth homer of the spring in the second inning of today's game against the Astros, connecting on a two-run shot to right center after a Matt Stairs walk, to put the Nationals up by two. He's got 17 RBI, along with the eight homers and a .373 average, this spring. Washington currently leads Houston 3-0 in the third inning.
Morse's eight homers are the second-most in baseball this spring; only the Orioles' Jake Fox, with nine, is ahead of him. And as those of you who are listening on the radio can probably attest, Morse's shot sounded like a homer as soon as it came off his bat.
He's hitting fifth to start the season, and manager Jim Riggleman said this morning that the Nationals' sabermetrics numbers suggest he's playing left field almost as well as Roger Bernadina. It's difficult to understate how important he is to the Nationals' current plan this season.
Livan Hernandez has given up a hit and a walk, but nothing else, in two innings. Ivan Rodriguez helped him by throwing out Brett Wallace at second in the second inning, and Ian Desmond and Laynce Nix contributed back-to-back doubles for the Nationals' third run a minute ago.